Love is a word that is used in a variety of contexts: I love my car, I love my footy team, I love spicy food etc. Sometimes we tell people we love them. The love that Jesus talks about has to be more than mere words. It has to be accompanied by action. Paul and Barnabas show real love in the First Reading by taking time to visit the disciples and put fresh heart into them. Another example of real love is putting up with trials and tribulations which test us because there is a greater value at stake. This is exemplified in Paul and Barnabas’ words when they tell the disciples that they will have to endure many trials before entering the Kingdom of God. Jesus also speaks of this same sacrificial love when he talks about glorifying himself on the cross. It is this type of real love he tells his disciples to have for one another in order to be authentic witnesses.
This week I visited the Year 6’s to speak on Confirmation. This Sacrament will be celebrated in the parish on Wednesday 29th May 2019. During this ceremony they will renew their baptismal promises on their own behalf. In the fourth promise each person is asked “Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who today through the Sacrament of Confirmation is given to you in a special way just as he was given to the Apostles on the day of Pentecost?”
This reminds us that on the day of Pentecost the disciples left the safety of the Upper Room to go out and preach the Gospel. Therefore in this promise each candidate expresses a belief that the Holy Spirit will also increase their capacity to love. Real love is all about moving outwards and doing whatever is possible to promote the good of the other. It is when we love in this way we show Jesus that we truly wish to be his disciples.